5 ON THE FLY: Five mini reviews all in one place.

Tarantula Head – Armstekno​:​UAV


Metal and art rock collide in an incendiary, and sometimes messy, chemical reaction. Weird-ass warped guitar breaks into hardcore chugging, yacht rock strumming lapses into screamo and sung vocals suddenly erupt into blood-curdling yells. The unpredictability of the goings-on makes one giddy with delight, provided that you like styles such as goth-rock, post-punk and prog/math. We do, so colour us happy.

Prime cut: “Who the Fuck is…?”

Jock Tears – sassy attitude


Jock Tears never forget the one golden rule of pop punk — have fun! Lauren Ray (vocals) and company keep things simple and buoyant as they stick to the basics, reaching back to ‘60s garage and ‘70s proto-punk to provide fuel for their short spurts of good-natured Saturday night rock. Backed by the ABC’s of a garage band (guitar, bass and drums), Ray projects her humour and energy with the childlike lilt and nasal (sometimes atonal) quality of her voice.

Prime cut: “biggy pop”

Cursed Arrows – Jimmy’s Dead


I’d love to throw a dinner party and invite over Ryan and Jack E Stanley, just because they have to be the coolest couple of people in the world. How cool? Well, their music brings to mind acts as disparate as Patti Smith, Concrete Blonde, P J Harvey and Alabama Shakes. Yes, they are that kind of cool. To go with their odd lyrics (sometimes spoken, sometimes sung) they cook up a pretty potent brew of dark post-punk mixed with some blues, acid rock and frankly whatever else they put their mind to. You never know where they are going to take you from one song to the next, but you go willingly because it’s an intoxicating ride.

Prime cut: “Jimmy’s Dead”

Puzzlehead – Fred’s Man Cave


Perhaps not a riddle per se but Vancouver’s Puzzlehead are certainly enigmatic. Everything is low key, lo fi and downbeat, like a modern day Velvet Underground. They have a way of creating an air of mystery with their wonky Twilight Zone-ish instrumentation and near-spoken street poetry. It’s an artsy trip through a psychedelic backdrop for those who prefer to avoid all things commercial and polished.

Prime cut: “The Carpenter”

Fond of Tigers – Uninhabit


Fond of Tigers is a collaboration between seven of Vancouver’s leading musicians. As a group they forge music that blurs the lines between avant, jazz, post-rock and prog. There is usually a beat and a discernible rhythm, but beyond that the guys tend to wander freely in in generally freeform jazz fashion, with JP Carter’s trumpet blaring here and there and Jesse Zubot’s violin screeching at will (to name just a couple of the flourishes to be had). From the jittery stop’n’start of “Cause B” to the more ambient pace of “Everything Moves”, FOT like to mix up the tempo and tone, which definitely keeps things interesting (although there is never a risk of boredom, to be honest). For lovers of this ilk (again, count us in) you cannot go wrong with these consummate professionals.

Prime cut: “Heartwarmongering No. 4”